The number of detentions for human smuggling increased in 2015

The Netherlands Marechaussee arrested approximately 330 suspects in 2015, on suspicion of human smuggling. This is an increase of 60 compared to 2014. In 2014 the number of detentions was roughly 270. These arrests took place pursuant to MTV checks (Mobile Security Monitoring checks), border control checks and project-based investigations.

Around 200 of the suspects that were arrested were caught during MTV checks. These checks intensified midway through September as a result of the unprecedented high influx of asylum seekers. Eighty suspects of human smuggling were arrested since the intensification. This implies that the number of detentions has increased from an average of 14 to an average of 23 per month since the intensification. This goes to show that the intensification of MTV checks is an effective means against the degrading practices of human traffickers. The intensified MTV checks will be continued.

Most of the human smuggling suspects that were detained in the MTV checks in 2015, have Dutch nationality (approximately 25 per cent). Syrian human smuggling suspects come in second place, with a share of approximately 15 per cent.

Combating the degrading practices of human smugglers is a priority for the government. The prison sentence for human smuggling will be increased from four to six years. If the human smuggling activities take place while the suspects exercise an official duty in office or carry out occupational activities, or if the activities take place in an organised context, or result in serious physical injury or even death, the human smugglers can be sentenced to 8, 10, 15 or 18 years behind bars. With this increase, Minister Van der steur and Minister for Migration, Dijkhoff, aim to increase the level of justice in line with the seriousness of the offence.